If you are a victim of a slip and fall, trip and fall or car accident and want to seek compensation for injuries you sustained, it is never too early to advance a claim against the legally liable person, business, corporation, municipality or group of people who was negligent. Liability will include damages for general pain and suffering, special expenses, out of pocket expenses, medical expenses, future care expenses, medical devices, loss of income etc…
While it is never too early to start a claim (give notice of your intention to seek compensation and perhaps sue), it is in many occasions too soon to settle the case. Most personal injury cases should only settle once the injuries have “crystalized”, meaning the full extent of the injury is known and a medical expert has opined that you will not get any better or any worse so that a final prognosis and full understanding of disability, if any, is known.
In some cases, an injured person believes their injuries are minor, but then find out that surgery is required or that the pain is permanent will never go away. All injured persons should obtain a full diagnosis by a health care provider prior to settlement. Do not make the mistake of rushing into an early settlement. Once a settlement is obtained, it can not generally be undone absent proving things like fraud; settlements are final and legally binding; courts will enforce settlement agreements. In signing as settlement, you release the liable party or parties from any and all liability of any known and unknown damages associated with the accident. Patience goes a long way in personal injury cases and we always recommend waiting a few months after you believe you have healed fully; then obtain a medical assessment confirming it; only then settle the case.
To better illustrate the point, consider these facts: You suffer a fractured leg in a slip and fall or car accident. You have initial surgery and are placed in a cast. After 3 months, you feel wonderful and the cast comes off, you then proceed to settle so as to quickly receive money. You sign a full and final release and get your settlement cheque. Some time later, you resume your normal routine but something is off; you are re-assessed medically; you are told that the injury requires more surgery or long term therapy because the pain has returned and it seems that you have developed a slight walking deficiency. You then hire a personal injury lawyer who assesses the case and informs you that s/he could have obtained a settlement more than ten times the amount you settled the case for on your own but the release is binding and there is nothing that can be done; no further compensation can be claimed. We see this scenario occur many times in our practice each year.
If you have been injured in an accident, invest in a meeting with one of our personal injury lawyers, the consultations are free. We take on personal injury cases on a no fee until you win basis so you have little risk when it comes to our fees. We do not charge unless we win for you.